The Medieval State: The Tyranny of a Concept?

  1. Yoke-Sum Wong and
  2. Derek Sayer
  1. Rees Davies

Published Online: 17 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444309706.ch15

Twenty Years of the Essays on the British State, Volume 1

Twenty Years of the Essays on the British State, Volume 1

How to Cite

Davies, R. (2008) The Medieval State: The Tyranny of a Concept?, in Twenty Years of the Essays on the British State, Volume 1 (eds Y.-S. Wong and D. Sayer), Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444309706.ch15

  1. The title of this paper deliberately evokes the title of a paper long since familiar to medieval historians, E. A. R. Brown, “The Tyranny of a Construct: Feudalism and Historians of Medieval Europe”, American Historical Review 79 (1974), 1063-88 and frequently republished. But there is a crucial difference: I am posing a question (hence the question mark) rather than making an assertion or seeking to demolish a current historiographical concept. The present paper is a much revised version of one originally prepared for the annual workshop on the English State held at St Peter's College, Oxford in March 2001. A summary of the original paper was published in the Journal of Historical Sociology 15 (2002), pp. 71-74.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 17 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 14 APR 2008

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405179331

Online ISBN: 9781444309706

SEARCH

Keywords:

  • Medieval State: The Tyranny of a Concept?*;
  • Case for “the Medieval State”;
  • State and Society in Medieval Europe. Gwynedd and Languedoc under Outside Rule;
  • These models focus on images of “feudal anarchy” power;
  • Whiggish and evolutionary assumption that the modern world saw the state - and nation-building which rescued Europe from the political fragmentation and economic backwardness of the middle ages;
  • Modern State and misconstruing the medieval past;
  • The state has been given far too privileged a rôle in the analyses of power in earlier societies

Summary

This chapter contains sections titled:

  • The Case for “the Medieval State”

  • The Modern State and Misconstruing the Medieval Past

  • Is “Lordship” an Alternative?

  • References